Rolling Stones Return to Rose Bowl for First Time Since 1994

Tailgating is encouraged, but ride-sharing is not.

Thursday night promises to be a dream-come-true for thousands of classic-rock fans but a possible nightmare for commuters when the Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the first time in a quarter of a century.

The Stones are on their No Filter tour to 13 cities across America.

The tour started in 2017 but was abruptly because of a health scare for Mick Jagger, who underwent heart surgery. Since then, the 76-year-old rocker's performances suggest heart surgery agrees with him.

The last time the Stones played at the Rose Bowl, which has a seating capacity of around 91,000, was in 1994. This time, the stage represents a technological advance that puts more focus on the Stones themselves, says Dale Skjerseth, the tour's production director since 1994. 

Each tour stop requires four days of setup, but the Rose Bowl setup was the quickest -- taking a little more than two days to finish. Overall, about 300 people -- 150 local workers and 150 who travel with the tour -- help with the production, Skjerseth says.

"People should expect a fantastic show," he said.

Tickets sold for the original date will be honored.

While the event stands to be a thrill for rock lovers, area commuters coming home from work likely will feel very differently as thousands of concert-goers descend on the venue.

Rose Bowl personnel have been advising residents to come home from work earlier or later than usual to avoid traffic headaches, and it's recommended that concert attendees arrive before 5 p.m.

"We've been preparing for a long time for the Rolling Stones," said Darryl Dunn, general manager of The Rose Bowl. "Unfortunately, Mick Jagger had health issues and they had to reschedule the concert and the show went from a Saturday night in May to a Thursday night in August. That means we have traffic challenges. So if we can get people here before 5 or 5:30 p.m. that would make the commuter's ride a little better." 

The parking lots will open at 3:30 p.m. The Rose Bowl has partnered with KLOS for a Stones Fan Fest, which will take place on the Brookside Golf Course in Lot 1A. In addition to a live broadcast, tickets will be given away, there will be a virtual reality 360 experience, cooling stations, and merchandise that can be accessed before the crowds arrive.

Dunn said it's always a lot of production work leading up to any event at The Rose Bowl, but The Rolling Stones show takes additional preparation.

"The Rolling Stones were here 25 years ago and it's sort of like hosting the Super Bowl," he said. "The Rolling Stones are the most iconic band in the world. Tickets sold out instantaneously and it's going in and working with the production people. And now at this point it's about execution." 

After the Stones, the Rose Bowl will be the site of the Pasadena Daydream Festival featuring The Cure on Aug. 31. Then, the UCLA football season kicks off.

Dunn said tailgating is encouraged tonight and ride-sharing is not.

"We're the best tailgating place in the world," Dunn said. "I would not recommend taking a rideshare. The leaving part is challenging. What happens quite a bit is rideshare is so popular, we have more riders waiting to be picked up than there are cars, so they have to wait." 

Off-site parking is ample and people can take the shuttle from Old Town Pasadena, by the Parsons Engineering Building, right to the stadium.

"Come early and make a day of it," Dunn said. "Of the 35 million people we've hosted over the years, I've never had one person complain to me that they've gotten here too early. The setting is so beautiful in the Arroyo. And this is not a show, it's an event and you've got to treat it that way. Having The Rolling Stones here is a dream." 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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